Best Bircher Swiss Muesli Recipe (Plus a Quick and Easy Variation)

Updated on August 25, 2018
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home" magazines. She is a recipe tester for "Cook's Illustrated."

Muesli with pears, apples, and fruit cocktail, sprinkled with flax and chia seeds
Muesli with pears, apples, and fruit cocktail, sprinkled with flax and chia seeds | Source

Easy Overnight Breakfast Oatmeal

I'll never forget the first time I tasted Bircher's Swiss muesli. Pleasantly sweet and creamy, muesli with yogurt satisfied our appetites and energized us for several hours of skiing. Best of all, this meal is quick, nutritious, and can be made ahead of time.

This recipe is based on Bircher’s original. A Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner developed this recipe at the turn of the 20th century to heal patients in his Zurich sanitarium. The good doctor espoused a diet rich in whole, raw foods—and his belief in the restorative power of food was so strong that he himself ate a bowl of raw oats and apples before his own meals, too. When Bircher's fellow physicians first heard of his revolutionary ideas, many stormed out of his conferences in outrage.

We’ve all seen the muesli sold in supermarkets—the kind packaged in boxes and sold in the cereal aisle. This commercial variety is a far cry from Bircher's original recipe.

Why should you eat muesli? The primary reasons are that it's delicious and healthy. In addition, since no cooking is required, it's quick and easy to prepare. Not only that, the recipe is endlessly customizable; for example, it can be made with any fresh fruit you have on hand.

Let's take a look at the recipe for Bircher's Swiss muesli. I'll tell you about the many possible substitutions you can make, as well as tips for preparation, serving, and storage. Once we've covered all of that, I'll share a bonus recipe for a quick and easy variation, for those times when you're in a hurry. And as if you needed any more reasons to consider adding muesli to your breakfast menu, I'll tell you about all of the health benefits of this wonderful dish.

Make Bircher's Swiss muesli with any fruit you have on hand. Pictured: muesli with apples, mangoes, berries, and almond slivers.
Make Bircher's Swiss muesli with any fruit you have on hand. Pictured: muesli with apples, mangoes, berries, and almond slivers. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (90 g) raw, old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup (225 mL) low-fat yogurt or kefir, any flavor
  • 1 cup (225 mL) whole or skim milk
  • 1 Tablespoon (20 mL) honey, to taste
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 fresh mango or peach, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 g) almonds, pecans, or walnuts, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 g) raisins or chopped, dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Combine oatmeal, yogurt, milk, and honey. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and set aside for about 15 minutes, until oatmeal absorbs the liquid. Add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired.
  2. Chop or dice fresh fruit. Grated apple gives muesli a smoother texture, but the muesli will also oxidize more quickly.
  3. Combine oatmeal mixture with the fresh fruit, nuts, and raisins, stirring gently with a spatula so as not to bruise the fruit.
  4. Sprinkle with seasonal berries, such as blueberries or raspberries, if available, for a gourmet touch. Or choose ground flaxseeds or chia seeds for extra fiber and nutrients.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Leave oatmeal, milk, and yogurt to rest while chopping fruitChop apples and pearsChop mangoCombine all ingredients
Leave oatmeal, milk, and yogurt to rest while chopping fruit
Leave oatmeal, milk, and yogurt to rest while chopping fruit
Chop apples and pears
Chop apples and pears
Chop mango
Chop mango
Combine all ingredients
Combine all ingredients

Substitutions

  • Yogurt - If you are lactose intolerant, replace dairy yogurt with soy or almond yogurt.
  • Milk - Again, for those who are lactose intolerant, replace dairy milk with almond milk, soy milk, or fruit juice.
  • Raw oats - Try using old-fashioned or quick oats.
  • Honey - Substitute sweetened condensed milk, maple syrup, agave syrup, or a dusting of stevia.
  • Raisins - Replace with dried cranberries, blueberries, or other dried fruit.
  • Almonds - Substitute hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, or sunflower seeds.
  • Pear - If you're not a fan of pear, you can replace with an additional apple.
  • Fresh mango and fresh peach - If these aren’t available, don’t be afraid to substitute another sweet, soft fruit—or even canned peaches (2 peach halves) or fruit cocktail (2 Tablespoons). They add a natural sweetness to the muesli.

Tips

Preparation

  • This recipe makes just one or two servings. We usually double or quadruple the quantities so we can eat muesli for several days.
  • We prefer sweet, crisp apples, such as Fuji or Honeycrisp.
  • A sharp knife makes cutting fruit easier and cuts it cleanly without bruising. Better yet, enlist a helper to hurry along the process.
  • This recipe makes muesli that is the consistency of thick oatmeal. If you like it thinner, add more milk or liquid of choice.
  • Muesli is fun to make with kids. The adult can do the chopping, while the child can help measure and stir ingredients.
  • If the yogurt or kefir is pourable, you may need less milk or juice. The oatmeal/yogurt mixture should be thin enough to pour when you mix in the fruit. It will thicken as it rests.
  • To cut calories, buy plain, low-fat yogurt or kefir. Sweeten with stevia instead of honey, if desired.

Serving

  • Sprinkle with flaxseed or chia seeds for extra fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Try muesli for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Storage

  • Since oxygen is the mortal enemy of cut fruit, store muesli in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.
  • If you want to store muesli for a few days, an apple like Granny Smith oxidizes more slowly because of its lower sugar content.

Quick and Easy Muesli Recipe

Now that we've covered the original Bircher's Swiss muesli recipe, let's talk about a quick recipe you can make if you're short on time. This recipe is simple but very satisfying, nonetheless. Serving size: one.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats, raw
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup whole or skim milk
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped or grated

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, yogurt, and milk. Allow it to rest.
  2. Core and chop apple, or use a large grater to shred the apple.
  3. Add to yogurt mixture and stir. Add more milk if you like a thinner consistency.
  4. Enjoy!

Note

For this recipe, we prefer Braeburn, Fuji, or another sweet and crisp apple variety.

Health Benefits of Eating Raw Oats and Yogurt

Raw Oats:

  • Weight loss: Oats contain more soluble fiber than most other grains. This fiber absorbs large quantities of water, slowing the digestive process and making you feel full longer, which helps control weight.
  • Digestibility: Due to soluble fiber, oats are more digestible than other grains. Although in the United States oats are most often consumed in cooked form, raw oats are easily digested. Just soak in yogurt and milk for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, before adding fruit.
  • Cardiovascular health: It’s a well-known fact that oats can help lower harmful cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Oats also help control blood glucose levels, may reduce high blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer.
  • Mental health: Oats contain inositol, which can act as a natural anti-depressant.
  • Nutrition: Oats contain numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of protein.

Yogurt:

  • Full of “good” bacteria, or probiotics, yogurt benefits intestinal health and immune function.
  • Yogurt is a good source of calcium. For those who suffer from lactose intolerance, try a non-dairy yogurt such as almond or soy yogurt.
  • Since yogurt makes you feel full, it can contribute to weight loss.

Share Your Ideas!

You can make Swiss muesli with any fruit you have on hand. Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

Ready to make muesli
Ready to make muesli | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      10 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Vespa, this looks delicious and easy to try. I never had muesli before and would be happy to give it a go sometime this year with the simple recipe first.

    • profile image

      Cooper Harrison 

      20 months ago from San Francisco, CA

      This looks healthy and delicious - just the kind of breakfast I've been looking for.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      3 years ago from Peru, South America

      techygran, I´m glad this brought back memories of your hippie days muesli and hope you´ll try it again soon! (without dairy). Thanks so much for your comment and have a great weekend!

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 

      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Vespawoolf:

      Recently I thought about making some muesli... in our old hippie days (the 70s) I would grate pour some warm water and butter(?) over some oats and let it soak overnight, then in the morning grate on an apple and maybe some cinnamon and honey (this is from a cobwebby memory, so it might not be so). I'm not sure that I used an dairy. Anyhow, I can not remember why we stopped eating it, and why we stopped eating that lovely grainy, thick raw honey either. It's worth a try again! I love the photos of all the luscious fruit cut over the oats! Yum! Thank you for this! ~Cynthia

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Deborah-Diane, I'm glad you're going to make this muesli! It's delicious and good for you, too. Thanks for your comment.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      This sounds wonderful! I love to eat Muesli once in a while, so I will definitely try this recipe!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Soulfully, pineapple would be delicious in this fresh fruit muesli. I'm glad you're going to try this healthy breakfast. Thanks for stopping by!

    • soulfully profile image

      soulfully 

      5 years ago

      The Bircher Müesli Recipe looks like something I'd really enjoy for breakfast. I think I'd add pineapple to mine for an extra sweet kick.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      talfonso, I'm glad you're going to try this recipe! It's one of our favorites because it's healthy, delicious and quick and easy. Enjoy!

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 

      5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I used to soak oatmeal in water and then add fruit as muesli. I'm definitely going to try this recipe! It fits my lifestyle and it's a welcome complement to 3 ounces of scrambled egg whites. Mmmmmm mmmm!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Rafaela Lima, I'm glad you're going to try this delicious and healthy Swiss Muesli! Thanks for coming by!

    • Rafaela Lima profile image

      Rafaela Lima 

      5 years ago from US

      Your hub is great! I will try it as soon as possible! :)

      Thanks!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      CyberShelley, thank you for the kind words! Muesli has all the elements of a great breakfast: quick, easy, healthy and delicious. Thanks for coming by!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Well done on another stellar recipe hub vespawolf. I was looking for a good recipe for muesli and as I've tried your recipes before I know this will be perfect as well. Thank you!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      twig22bend, please come back and tell me what you think, if you have a chance. Raw oatmeal has been eaten for decades in Europe and it's becoming more popular in the U.S., too. Enjoy and thanks for coming by!

    • twig22bend profile image

      twig22bend 

      5 years ago

      I love oatmeal. I have never eaten it uncooked, but this sounds like my kind of dish, so I am going to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Deborah-Diane, I'm glad to meet someone who appreciates the benefits of eating raw oatmeal! And it's delicious, too, especially when mixed with fruit and yogurt. Thank you for all your support.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      I frequently eat raw oatmeal, and sometimes add a little fruit. However, I love the idea of putting all this together as a homemade Muesli. It sounds like my favorite kind of breakfast. Thanks!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      lielsl5858, swiss muesli is a delicious and healthy way to start the day. Enjoy and thank you for coming by!

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Looks tasty to eat, I have to try some of your delicious looking recipes. Thank you vespawoolf for sharing.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Moonlake, oatmeal is good for you any way, but my hubby who doesn't care for cooked oatmeal loves muesli. So we eat it a lot in our house. Your oatmeal with bananas and raisins sounds yummy to me! Thanks for the vote.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      Love oatmeal with raisins and banana's on it with skim milk. We always eat cooked oatmeal sometimes for dinner. I have never tried it your way but will have to give it a try. Sounds good. Voted up.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      lindacee, I know what you mean about Eggo waffles. : ) This is a great breakfast for something healthy. It sure does start the day off right. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      This Swiss muesli looks so tasty! Your Hub has given me the inspiration to start the day with a healthy breakfast. I hate to admit I have an Eggo waffle addiction. Thank you for sharing a delicious and healthful recipe! :)

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Thanks fo the share and comment, AudreyHowitt!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

      This looks wonderful!! Sharing!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      beingwell, my hubby isn't a fan of fruit or most mueslis but strangely enough, he often requests this muesli. I hope you have a chance to try it. I like that it keeps well in the fridge for several days so he has a healthy snack he can serve himself and fill up on in between meals. Thanks for coming by!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 

      5 years ago from Bangkok

      My hubby's not a fan of muesli. Maybe if I try your recipe, he might give it another try. We'll see...

      Sharing this hub to my friends!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Prasetio, muesli is delicious and healthy. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much for the vote and comment.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love the recipe and it sound delicious. I'll show to my mom and I hope she want to make it for lunch. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      PeggyW, we eat muesli regularly and always feel like we're doing something good for our body. We also love it! It's versatile since you can use so many different fruits. Please let me know what you think if you have a chance. Thanks for the votes!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This gets another 5 stars from me + up and useful votes. Can't wait to give this a try tomorrow morning for breakfast! Definitely passing this along by sharing. Thanks!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Hendrika, the raw oats, fruit and yogurt makes muesli a nutrition powerhouse. I know fruit can be expensive in some areas, so use apples and whatever fruit is least expensive there. I find most any fruit I've used in muesli is really delicious. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 

      6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I must say it sounds very delicious. The apples prevents it from being too expensive for me as fruit is quite expensive. I will add the canned fruit it needs be. We are all so used to the store bought variety that we do not even think of making our own and I find that some of them have a lot of sweetness and roasting wich I suppose makes the oats not "raw" any more!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Unknown spy, you're right. We're having a bowl of muesli this morning! It really gives you the right start to the day. Thanks!

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      sure looks so healthy and tasty! gave it 5 stars.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Alocsin, muesli requires no cooking and is so fast and healthy. We make large batches and store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Then we have a quick and healthy breakfast for several days in a row. Enjoy!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I don't know that I've ever had muesli but this recipe sounds good enough for me to try it out. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Sandrabusby, enjoy the recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 

      6 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      I haven't had Bircher muesli since I lived in Zurich, but I'm going to make some now. Thanks for SHARING.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      sen.sush23, muesli is a delicious alternative to boxed cereal and so healthy! I'm glad you find this recipe useful. Thanks so much for the vote, share and comment.

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 

      6 years ago from Kolkata, India

      This looks and suggests an interesting and healthy breakfast option. I eat cereals and often add raisins and nuts to it- muesli from the market was something I got,but I prefer not to go for packaged food. Your recipe is such an appetizing alternative and the video is also interesting. Voted up and shared.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Melovy, I'm glad you can use this recipe. We just love muesli and eat it often. Thanks so much for the vote and comment!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Natashalh, it's nice to know there are non-dairy yogurts out there. I'll make a note of it in this hub. We love this muesli and hope you enjoy it as well. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      ishwaryaa22, thanks so much for the share and vote. We enjoy this muesli quite often as it's so delicious and healthy, too. It's nice to hear from you again!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      This looks good. I eat porridge (cooked oatmeal) almost every morning so this would make a good change, especially in summer. I will soak some oats overnight.

      Voted up.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Luckily, they now make yogurt out of non-dairy milks. Almond yogurt is delicious! I recently started becoming lactose intolerant and yogurt was the first thing I noticed bothering me, as clairewait noted.

      Thanks for the recipe! I really had no idea muesli was anything more than the boxed item on the cereal aisle. This sounds delicious and ready healthy.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      I am fond of Swiss museli and granola. I often bought the commercial types (reputed brands only). This is a truly authentic dish and your recipes are clearly explained. I would like to try them soon. It is interesting to note the origination of authentic Swiss museli thanks to the good doctor Bircher. An engaging hub with yummy photos. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Clairewait, I'll keep that in mind about the lactose! Yes, it's a wonderful summer recipe that we enjoy often. Besides being quick and easy, it's very nutritious. Thank you for commenting!

    • clairewait profile image

      clairewait 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      I have yet to meet someone who is lactose intolerant that can tolerate yogurt--it is often the first thing to go. At any rate, this breakfast looks delicious and hearty, and I am not lactose intolerant, so I'll be trying! *I also love this for summer... no cooking the oatmeal. Great hub.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Good to know about the cheese in Switzerland! When we went to Paris I ate cheese for two weeks straight. I don't think I'm lactose intolerant, but it did't have a good affect on my digestive system to say the least. : ) Enjoy the muesli and thanks for your comment!

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      6 years ago from Space Coast

      I can sure cook. I am not usually into recipe hubs, but this caught my eye. We had a co-op "health food" store in my town that made the best muesli, but the the old hippies were bought out and the place turned into a more commercial operation. The new one has some good food in the cafe', but no muesli. Now I can just make my own. Thanks.

      Cheese, the way they make it in Switzerland, is good for you in moderation (unless you are lactose intolerant).

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Cammiebar, I have updated the muesli hub based on your question about consuming raw oats. I hope you'll drop back by!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Hello ElizaDoole. Nutritionists say raw oats are more beneficial than cooked in weight loss programs. It will help lower bad cholesterol and increase good. Plus it tastes good! So there's no need to cook the oatmeal in muesli. Just let it soak in the milk and yogurt for about 30 minutes, while you chop the fruit.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 

      6 years ago from London

      @cammiebar - I want to know that as well. About the oatmeal. I like making muesli thanks for the recipe.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, what a wonderful vacation! Now you can recreate your memories of the muesli.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      I recently went for a few days to Mörschach, Switzerland, and the breakfast buffet at the hotel I was staying in had Swiss Muesli every day, it truly is delicious!!!! Now I know how they made it taste so good.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Muesli is made with raw oatmeal. No need to cook it. Just mix with milk and yogurt and let it rest as you chop the fruit. Not just delicious, it's also very healthful. I hope you'll give it a shot. It's very addictive!

    • Cammiebar profile image

      Cammiebar 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      This sounds really good! But I have a question. Do you use instant oatmeal and not heat it up when you combine it? Or do you need to cook the oatmeal a bit first?

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